Michael Douglas Compares Filming Sex Scenes Now to His Heyday: 'I'm Past the Age Where I've Got to Worry'

"In my experience, you take responsibility as the man to make sure the woman is comfortable," Douglas told 'Radio Times,' discussing intimacy coordinators

<p>Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty</p> Michael Douglas in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2019

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Michael Douglas in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2019

Michael Douglas, who's filmed many sex scenes over the course of his career, has thoughts about how the approach to onscreen intimacy has changed.

In a new interview with Radio Times, per The Telegraph, the 79-year-old actor said that while he's personally “past the age where I’ve got to worry about that," he thinks the growing prevalence of "intimacy coordinators" on sets is "interesting."

"It feels like executives taking control away from filmmakers — but there have been some terrible faux pas and harassment," Douglas said.

The Basic Instinct star went on to compare sex scenes to fight scenes, in the sense that both are typically "choreographed" sequences.

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StudioCanal/Shutterstock Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas in <em>Basic Instinct</em> (1992)
StudioCanal/Shutterstock Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct (1992)

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"In my experience, you take responsibility as the man to make sure the woman is comfortable, you talk it through," Douglas told Radio Times, per The Telegraph. "You say, ‘Okay, I’m gonna touch you here if that’s all right.' "

"It’s very slow but looks like it’s happening organically, which is hopefully what good acting looks like," he added.

The Fatal Attraction actor noted that while he's "sure there were people that overstepped their boundaries," he explained, "Before, we seemed to take care of that ourselves. They would get a reputation and that would take care of them."

“But I talked to the ladies, [because] I did a few of those [movies with sex scenes] and we joke about it now, what it would have been like to have an intimacy coordinator working with us," he said.

Douglas — who has been married to Catherine Zeta-Jones since 2000 — previously shared his expertise regarding sex scenes while speaking at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

<p>Dave Benett/Getty</p> Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas in Cannes, France, on May 24, 2023

Dave Benett/Getty

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas in Cannes, France, on May 24, 2023

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At the time, the actor recalled being at the center of controversy when Basic Instinct premiered at the festival in 1992 — and referred to himself as an "expert at sex scenes" while breaking down a love sequence from the provocative classic. (Douglas also famously starred in the sexual thrillers Fatal Attraction [1987] and Disclosure [1994]).

The two-time Academy Award winner said he's "proud of the fact my history with women in films ... most of them have given their best performances," and recalled rehearsing intimate scenes with costar Sharon Stone for Basic Instinct.

"The secret, I guess — since I've become the expert on sex scenes in movies — is rehearsal," he said. "You do a fight scene, you have to work out the choreography. ... When you do that you go, 'Okay, I throw a punch, boom, you go back and you come back, you throw, boom.' You start very slowly and then you work your way up to a faster pace."

"Well, the same thing; and particularly if you're doing a love scene, it's important for the lady that you're not taking advantage," continued Douglas, noting that his steamy films came before the prevalence of intimacy coordinators on film sets. "You tell them beforehand when you're starting: 'All right, I'm going to put my hand here. Is that all right? Okay, you put your hand here and then we're going to go kiss, kiss, and then we are going to go ... we're going to go down.' "

He added, "It's very well choreographed."

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